Paul CroweWe’re big fans and proponents of entry level hiring that is based on potential for future success. Last week I wrote about non-academic achievements and their role as a predictor of future career success. This is something I’ve always personally been passionate about as an arts grad running a business, and as someone who sees first-hand the degree bias that so many employers have. In my opinion, when it comes to entry level hiring, a candidate’s potential for future success should be given more weight than their ability to make an impact right away.

Cassandra from our team alerted me to a very relevant post from our friend Paul Crowe. On his blog, Digital Society, Paul highlights how advertising companies need to take more risks when it comes to entry level hiring in order to find top talent. Paul sums up perfectly why business should hire for ‘potential for future success’ when it comes to entry level positions:

For an industry that prides itself on creativity, risk-taking, and being different we do a horrible job on actually delivering on this promise. We will be the first to bitch about a client that isn’t willing to try something new, to take the big risk with their brand or to invest in unknown creative territories. We will also be the first to complain about clients that aren’t looking long-term at brand building but are more focused on immediate activation, sales or traffic drivers.

But then when it comes to our hiring practices we are unable to look beyond immediate needs and are unwilling to take risks. Twice in the past month I have came across examples of agencies that I respect turning down an incredible junior account person because he doesn’t have the “experience required to have an immediate impact”. The young man in question is well educated, as creative as they come, an awesome person and would be an asset to any agency that would just give him a shot on their account team. Does he know how to build a workback schedule for a TV campaign, radio record or POS execution? No. But he will learn fast, probably find ways to improve that process, improve the work and make your clients love your agency even more.

One of the agencies even told me they really wanted to hire him, that he’d be a perfect fit for their culture and loved him – BUT he didn’t have the experience they were looking for. Are you kidding me? This agency prides itself as being a creative leader in Canada and the world; they are known to push brands to take risks but they refuse to take a risk themselves. Let’s be honest, the reason most people don’t work out at an agency is that they aren’t a cultural fit. If you find a cultural fit then chances are they will excel in that environment and deliver more value to you and your clients than someone who can manage that project that starts next week.

That being said I actually hope all agencies continue with this ass backwards approach to hiring. Leave all the great people for me.

For more from Paul, check out Digital Society.